Have you ever wondered what happens after a happy ending, when everyday life kicks in and two people have to learn to live together? In this delightful conclusion to the beloved Running on Empty, we find our Alex and Blake taking their first steps as a couple. This is a book about the adjustments that people need to make in life in order to make room for their happily ever after.
Even though they have finally found a way to each other and committed to a future together, no time passes before Alex and Blake are faced with their first challenges as a couple. For so long, Alex has fought to be a good mum to her children and to make up for the absence of their dad in their lives. She has invested all her time and energy to make them feel loved, adjusted, cared for, and she has done this by putting her personal life aside and assuming a role of both mother and father to them. She is a woman whose heart was broken but she had to learn to suppress that pain for the sake of her daughters – knowing this as a reader, it is hard not to feel sympathy for her and her struggle to maintain control over that life. She’s had a best friend to help her on occasion and be her support system when her grief overwhelmed her, but she has done it all on her own. Until Blake. Learning to lean on someone and ask for help has always been hard for Alex, and even now, with a man who loves her and wants nothing more than to be her rock in life, she struggles to relinquish control over things that she’s always done a certain way.
“This is how things are in my house, the way they have been for a long time.”
Blake loves Alex wholeheartedly and has loved her for a very long time. Having her now as his wife is the realisation of everything he’s ever dreamed of. But he wants her to accept him as her husband not just in name but as an equal ‘partner in crime’ when it comes to all aspects of their new life together.
“We’re supposed to be partners in this, Alex, but instead, we’re two strangers, living two separate lives, inhabiting the same living space.”
He needs her to rely on him, not just as her husband but also as a new father to her children. He wants to create a new family with Alex and her daughters, while Alex only lets him participate in the raising of her children as long as it does not interfere with her way of parenting them. She remains adamant that she knows best how to be a good parent to them because she’s been doing it by herself for so long, failing to realise that she no longer needs to do everything on her own.
“Your girls! Your house! Your baby! What happened to our life, Alex?”
Alex’s inability to ask for help conflicts with Blake’s desperate need for her to feel that she is his, his to love, his to help, his to look after. This is a book about learning to communicate with each other and about learning to let go of the past when the future is shining brightly before you.
A truly heart-warming, profoundly emotional continuation of a beautiful story that allowed us to revisit characters we became deeply invested in in the past. It allowed us to take a peek into their life as a new husband and wife and see them finally become a family. This is a much more mature insight into their relationship – the focus is almost entirely on the bond between them and their marriage, giving us a candid snapshot of what it takes to truly share a life together.
If you’ve loved Running on Empty as much as I have, I have no doubt that you will not want to miss this one!
“… now that I have you, I’m never, ever going to let you go again. You are mine. Without you, I am nothing.”
As soon as I turn to lead us towards the lake, I’m suddenly whipped around and my body folds itself into Blake’s as he wraps his arm around my back. Dipping me gently, he brings his face to mine. My eyes once again find his perfect mouth, my lips parting to give him entry. He plunges right through them and when I feel the warmth of his tongue I let out a moan. Holding onto the lapels of his jacket, I pull myself closer to him, raising my body until my chest is flush with his. My tongue enters his mouth on a massive exploring expedition, claiming every single inch as my own. When I hear him groan in response, I figure it’s time to stop because I can feel his excitement, which reminds me that we really need to discuss the mandatory one-hundred foot policy during the nuptials.
He brings me back to a standing position and ends the kiss with a light, feathery soft peck to my lips. “Wow,” I sigh, still trying to catch my breath.
Blake raises his hand to move one of the curled sections of my hair off of my face. I reach back to make sure my bun in still intact, and find it’s still holding strong. Not that I’m surprised. Harlow put a whole package of bobby pins in the thing.
After a few seconds of gathering ourselves, Blake offers his arm, and I loop mine through, hugging his massive shoulder as we walk together.
“Last chance to back out,” I say smiling up at him.
“Nah,” he simply states. “I’ve been waiting to call you mine my whole life, and tonight I plan on showing you just how mine you are.” The air is sucked out of my lungs as I come to a standstill.
He says nothing else, just leans over to give me a sensual kiss on the neck before leaving me on my own to practically orgasm in front of our family and friends. I can hear him laughing as he walks away and a grin breaks across my face.